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The Role of Prior Knowledge in Interpretive Inferences and Reasoning

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posted on 17.02.2017, 00:00 authored by Kathryn S McCarthy
Successful literary reading requires not only an understanding of the literal aspects of the text, but also an understanding of the author’s message about the world. The purpose of the present research was to examine how providing aspects of experts’ knowledge affected novice interpretive behavior when reasoning about a literary short story. Experiment 1 indicated that a reading prompt that provided literary convention information elicited more interpretive behavior than control. Experiment 2 used processing information from experts to construct three new reading instructions: 1) rules of notice, 2) satire, 3) combination of both. Results indicated that the combined reading instruction yielded more interpretive behavior than the rules of notice instruction. Additional analysis revealed that this relationship was related to the participants’ attention to rhetorical choices in the text. These findings suggest that access to literary-relevant knowledge promotes more discipline-appropriate reasoning.



Goldman, Susan R


Goldman, Susan R



Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level


Committee Member

Wiley, Jennifer Raney, Gary E Magliano, Joseph P Rapp, David N

Submitted date

December 2016

Issue date


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